Middle School Band Teacher Bridgett Szychulski Charged with Having Sex with Student

Middle School Band Teacher Bridgett Szychulski Charged with Having Sex with Student
Bridgett Szychulski
Bucks County District Attorney

09/17/2014 AT 10:00 PM EDT

Bridgett Szychulski has been described as a well-liked high school band director who last Tweeted, "So proud of my students today – they rock!"

On Sept. 16, she was arrested and arraigned in Bucks County District Court in New Britain, Pennsylvania, on charges of having sex with a 14-year-old student in 2012, when she was the instrumental band director at the Lenape Middle School in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

Szychulski, 31, of Philadelphia, who is married with a 4-year-old son and pregnant, showed up in court – her hands cuffed in front of her expanding belly – to face charges of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault and indecent assault, according to the criminal complaint.

Szychulski, who was suspended on Sept. 12 without pay from her job as instrumental band director at Central Bucks High School South in Warrington, Pennsylvania, was released on $500,000 bail and was ordered not to have any contact with minors or students.

Her attorney, William Goldman, asked the judge for leniency when setting bail, saying that she is in the middle of a complicated pregnancy. Goldman did not immediately return calls for comment. Szychulski could not be reached for comment.

Anonymous Tip

Authorities launched an investigation earlier this month after someone called in an anonymous tip on the state child abuse hotline.

According to the complaint, on Sept. 11, during an interview at the Bucks County Children's Advocacy Center in Jamison, Pennsylvania, the student said he had had a "sexual relationship" with his band teacher, Szychulski, in 2012 when he was a student at Lenape Middle School.

The student said they first "connected on a mental level" while he "played in the bands she supervised," and that he would "text and talk to Szychulski on her cellular telephone," the complaint states.

He told authorities that some of the communication included explicit pictures of Szychulski. The relationship later became sexual, with the student saying he and Szychulski had sexual encounters at least three times from early 2012 until the end of the 2012 school year, according to the complaint.

The student told authorities that one sexual encounter took place in her parked car in New Britain, when he "snuck out" of his house without his parents' knowledge. He said the two engaged in sexual contact and had intercourse inside the vehicle.

He said the other two sexual encounters took place in the storage room near the middle school band room and in Szychulski's office, according to the complaint.

When the student texted Szychulski in July 2014 and told her that he had disclosed their relationship to one of his friends, she replied to the text by saying, "why would you tell him," "I could lose my job…family…etc," and "don't know that I want to rehash that" and "move on," according to the complaint.

Szychulski has worked for the Central Bucks district for seven years. She was the instrumental band director at Lenape Middle School from August 2007 to August 2013, according to the Central Bucks School District.

A Shocked Community

A source told PEOPLE that the community "is reeling" from Szychulski's arrest and arraignment.

Central Bucks School District Superintendent David Weitzel is taking the charges seriously. He released a statement saying that after school officials learned of Szychulski's alleged conduct with a student, she was immediately prohibited from coming onto school district property or having any contact with any Central Bucks School District students.

"The suspended teacher's future status with the district will be largely determined by the outcome of the legal proceedings," Weitzel said in the statement.

Assistant District Attorney Matthew Lannetti said he could not comment on specifics of the case, because it is an active, ongoing investigation.

"At this point, my comment has been that we are extremely grateful to the school district for their cooperation and how quickly they enabled us to move our investigation forward so that we were able to make the arrest yesterday," he told PEOPLE.

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